Starting September 1st, I’m once again going to try to update this blog 5 times a week. For at least that month. Last time I tried this, I got 6 posts for the whole month. Hopefully, this time quantity will drive a knockout punch right into quality’s jawbone.
Pay attention, because these songs do. Here are two bands, dissimilar in most ways; Lambchop, a bizzaro country band from Nashville, The Lucksmiths, an indie pop band from Australia. Here’s what they share: scenic lyrics. Like I was saying in the post below with Elvis Perkins, the ability to really build a scene for listeners through songs is a tough one, and one most songwriters can’t be bothered with. You’ve got a chorus, and then, unless you’re Conor Oberst, Colin Meloy, or Common, you’ve got between 16 and 24 (rhyming) lines of verses. It’s easier to tell a story, it’s even easier to just get at a basic emotion, than it is to lay a scene out. And, as a listener, I don’t think I’d even like it if every band were to try; most are right not to; they couldn’t pull it off.
These songs require patience; they build slowly to a point that, often times is anti-climactic. Someone walks out of a room at a party, a dog pisses on some bushes, someone doesn’t write you back, someone doesn’t see a break-up coming. That’s the basic story line of the four songs I’m going to give you, but it’s how these stories are told, with something delicate and something grotesque, that makes it work.
Of course, there’s more at work in these songs than the stories they tell. “The Chapter of Your Life Entitled San Francisco” has wanderlust brewing under it’s bitter waiting for a traveling partner to return. “Fiction” has a terribly sad irony to it’s last line; “why would I lie to you?” Of course, he would lie to us because he thinks the girl and him are soulmates, and, no, he won’t apologize for using the word soulmates, and reality just dealt him a chance encounter at a party, and nothing more. And there is so much loneliness in the descriptions of “Interrupted,” even though, really, all you get is someone walking their dog.
William Faulkner was purported to have said about The Sound and the Fury, that, really, it was the story of a kid who couldn’t make it to the bathroom. On a very basic level, the statement is correct; that is one of the few definite plot points of the book. Show’s you what the details can do.
By the by, this post is going up on the day of the last Lucksmiths gig ever. If I’d have posted this tomorrow, I’d have to use past tense. What a shame.
And Pitchfork’s got a great Manic Street Preachers remix done by Four Tet.